Healthy Living in the North

Foodie Friday: New Year’s resolution challenge

Just a couple more days until we ring in the New Year (how is it 2018 already?!) and some of us might already be thinking about our New Year’s resolutions. Setting goals, whether big or small, is key to achieving desired changes in our lives. Without SMART goals, we tend to get sidetracked, distracted, and lose motivation along the way.

Many of us choose health-oriented goals for the New Year. The end of one year and the beginning of another is an opportunity to reflect on your health and how you care for yourself.  This reflection may help you identify what health means to you and new ways you’d like to try to achieve better health.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with more traditional goals like wanting to move more or eat healthier. But I think it’s safe to say that after a few months, especially if the changes are too different from our normal behaviours, most of us lose our motivation to eat better and revert back to our usual ways (which may not be all that problematic to begin with!). Instead of choosing really broad goals like “eat better”, break your goals down into smaller, achievable steps that work towards your overarching goal. Here are some examples:

  • I will eat a fruit at breakfast every day this week.
  • I will bring my lunch from home four out of five days of the work week this month.
  • I will only eat out once per month for the next six months.

Healthy eating goals don’t need to only focus on what types of food we choose. What can be equally as important is improving our attitudes, behaviours and feelings about eating, such as being open to trying new foods, taking time to prepare meals and snacks, tuning in and responding to internal cues of hunger, fullness and satiety, feeling good about eating, and so on. For this upcoming year, I’d like to challenge you to think beyond goals focused solely on particular food choices, and consider adding goals that work towards mindful eating. Mindful eating is deliberately paying attention, without any judgement about the why, when, what, and how much you eat, with the goal of enjoying and feeling good about eating.  Some examples might be:

  • I will focus on the taste, texture, temperature, flavour, and pleasure of my food by removing distractions (no tv/cell phone/music) from one meal per day.
  • I will take time today to enjoy my food and notice when I feel full and satisfied. I will honour my body’s cues to finish eating.
  • I will build a routine around my evening meal (e.g. setting the table, lighting candles, saying thank you to the cook, etc.) that allows me to pause and gives permission to take time to eat.

For more tips on practicing mindful eating, visit the Centre for Mindful Eating.

Now here’s a recipe to enjoy mindfully!

Turmeric, Ginger, and Mango Smoothie

Adapted from: desireerd.com

mango tumeric ginger smoothie on counter

Ingredients:

  • ½ of a fresh mango (or generous ½ cup frozen mango)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1 dash black pepper
  • 1 cup milk or fortified milk alternative
  • ¼ cup cashews
  • 1-2 tsp honey
  • 1 pinch sea salt

Instructions:

  1. Blend all ingredients together.

Tip: I found the cashews didn’t quite blend up in my Magic Bullet. Unless you have a high quality blender like a Vitamix, I would suggest soaking the cashews first in warm water, then draining off the water before blending.

Tamara Grafton

About Tamara Grafton

Tamara is a registered dietitian currently working with the clinical nutrition team at UHNBC and in long term care facilities in Prince George. Originally from a small city in Saskatchewan, she now lives the rural life on a ranch with her husband and young son. She has a passion for nutrition education, healthy eating and cooking. In her downtime, she enjoys reading food blogs, keeping active, and trying out new recipes on her family and friends

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Announcing the Picture YOU Healthy Challenge

Chapman vs Bowering

Dr. Chapman (on the right) as he faced off with Dr. Bowering (left) in the March MANness competition 2012.

March is here and with it brings new opportunities to become active in your community. Last year, Dr. Bowering and I took part in a healthy competition during the March MANness 2012 campaign, competing in ping pong, Wii Golf, and a final race around the track at the Northern Sports Centre. While the ending was controversial, the message was not: getting active is fun and easy!

We have been on a journey to raise awareness about our position papers on modifiable risk factors on topics including healthy eating, active living, and healthy communities. During September we issued the September Healthy Living Challenge to find out how northerners apply these principles to their everyday lives by submitting pictures, sharing stories, and getting active in their communities. It was a great success with people from across our region participating and getting involved.

This month, we are looking for northerners to get involved again for the Picture YOU Healthy campaign. We want you to tell us what certain key messages mean to you – in a picture! Visit the Picture YOU Healthy contest page for rules and new key messages released each week. This is a fun way to show us how YOU live an active and healthy life in our beautiful region.

We look forward to hearing from you!

[Editor’s note: The first week’s key messages have been revealed on the Picture YOU Healthy contest page. For the rest of the week, we’ll be sharing staff member’s blog posts and pictures about their ideas!]

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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Adding activity to your work day – it’s easier than you think!

Fit Kit

Take on our Week 2 Challenge for your chance to win this Fit Kit!

Yesterday, we introduced your Week 2 Challenge in the September Healthy Living Challenge. Tell us how you fit activity into your work day, enter our contest, and you could win your very own Fit Kit, including the great items pictured here!

In order to show you how some of these items work,  Christine Glennie-Visser, NH HEAL Coordinator, met with Michael Leisinger, Regional Director of Board and Administration Services. Together, they show you how you can fit activity into your work day!

Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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Recess isn’t just for kids (and September Healthy Living Challenge #2!)

Jessica and Anne using Dyna bands to stretch in their office.

Jessica and Anne using Dyna bands, part of the kit, to stretch in their office.

At one time or another, you may have walked past the office that I share with my colleague, Anne Scott, and noticed strange things occurring: push ups, yoga stretches, even chin ups in the doorframe. Yes, that’s happened. We’ve received a few strange looks, but definitely more cheers and, happily, several joiners.

My job involves a lot of desk time and sometimes I can get so wrapped up in editing or writing or some other consuming task that before I know it, three hours have gone by and I’ve barely moved. My body deeply resents these moments.

To help correct this negative behaviour, Anne and I have started incorporating activity breaks into our day-to-day routines – times when we both stop whatever task is at hand, stand up, take a few deep breaths and get our blood flowing and our muscles responding again. Besides being good for our bodies (you can read all about it in Northern Health’s guidelines on sedentary behaviour and physical activity), we find it really helps keep us alert and focused on our work throughout the whole day.

Woman using Dyna bands.

We’ve gotten visitors wanting to join us for stretch breaks too! Here, Barbara Hennessy, Regional Coordinator, Cardiac and Cerebrovascular Services, shows off with the Dyna bands.

Realizing that office workers sit for much of their day, another co-worker recently introduced me to a kit she’s developing (to be called a “Fit Kit”) to help people build extra activity into their day. Anne and I gave this kit a trial run for a couple of weeks and can happily report that it made our activity breaks a whole lot more fun and gave us quite the variety of stretches to work into our routines. People should be practicing resistance training (or weight training) three times per week, so having the option of using the kit for this while at work definitely saves a lot of time!

Now here’s where your Week 2 Challenge comes in! We want to know how you add activity into your work day: how do you find ways to get out of your chair and move? Send us your tips (and your photo proof) for your chance to win your very own Fit Kit!

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post when we show you a video demonstrating how to use some of the Fit Kit items – you never know, it could just change your whole work day!

Tips for taking activity breaks in your office:

  • Do you ever get so wrapped up in what you’re working on that you forget to stretch? Try setting a timer (maybe an app on your smartphone or even an egg timer) or scheduling it into your calendar.
  • Partnering up with a colleague to help remind you (and vice versa) when it’s time to stretch can really help to motivate!
  • Creating a daily activity routine will help make your new activity goals stick better. Pick a time (or times) when it works for you and be sure to get active every day.
  • Getting weird looks while you do those push ups under your desk? Why not give them weird looks back for not doing push ups next to you! It’s time to break the stigma against sudden attacks of lunges and squats next to your desk!
  • Visit the Physical Activity Line website for more information on workplace activity.
Jessica Quinn

About Jessica Quinn

Jessica Quinn is the regional manager of health promotion and community engagement for Northern Health, where she is actively involved in promoting the great work of NH staff to encourage healthy, well and active lifestyles. She also manages NH's social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc). When she's not working, Jessica stays active by exploring the beautiful outdoors around Prince George via kayak, hiking boots or snowshoes, and she has recently completed her master's degree in professional communications from Royal Roads University, with a focus on the use of social media in health care. (NH Blog Admin)

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Announcing the September Healthy Living Challenge

Chapman vs Bowering

Dr. Chapman (on the right) as he faced off with Dr. Bowering (left) in the March MANness competition.

Northern health matters to us, and it should matter to you too. This is why, over the month of September, we want to challenge YOU to live a healthier life.

Over the past year, members of the Northern Health team have started work on developing a series of guidelines (called position papers) on key issues that affect people’s health, including physical activity, healthy eating, injury prevention, tobacco, and obesity. It’s our goal to help share our knowledge of these health issues and work toward improving the overall health of northerners.

To help bring the ideas and evidence from our position guidelines to life, we would like to issue the September Healthy Living Challenge to our staff and communities. Over the next month, we will be posting a series of stories, reflections, and challenges on the Northern Health Matters blog to encourage everyone to consider how we can make healthier choices during the day, every day. I encourage everyone to follow along with the challenges and contests, and to submit their stories and pictures about how they live a healthy and active life.

Who doesn’t like a good challenge? You may remember that I know what it means to be challenged. This past spring, Dr. Bowering and I went head-to-head in a series of physical activities in the March MANness Competition. Healthy living doesn’t need to be difficult. For example, find ways to make every move count and do activities that work for your lifestyle. Go for a walk, take your kids to the park, dust off your bicycle, or use some of the great facilities that our northern communities have to offer, such as community pools. I encourage everyone to go to visit the Northern Health Matters blog regularly to participate in our September Healthy Living Challenge.

Find out how you can become a part of this exciting opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle in the north – visit our September Healthy Living Challenge page now! And be sure to come back tomorrow, when the first challenge and contest will be announced!

Dr. Ronald Chapman

About Dr. Ronald Chapman

Ronald Chapman is a physician with a fellowship in community medicine, and extensive experience in the leadership and management of health services with a focus on community health. Dr. Chapman joined the Northern Health team in 2007 as regional director of the Northern Cancer Control Strategy. Dr. Chapman assumed the role of the chief medical health officer of Northern Health in June 2011, and in February 2013, he transitioned to Vice President, Medicine in Northern Health.

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